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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Concert Review: Gang Gang Dance at the Grog Shop

Posted By on Tue, Jul 12, 2011 at 9:44 AM

Yeah, their music is a lot like that too
  • Yeah, their music is a lot like that too

It's bewildering.

What do you expect from a band that's released two of the most dynamic, fusion dance albums over the past few years? Both of which —2008's Saint Dymphna and this year's Eye Contact — are top of the heap material in their respective years.

After career-highs like conducting an orchestra of 88 drummers (a collaboration with the Japanese band Boredoms), Gang Gang Dance have honed their dance sensibilities on Eye Contact.

And at the Grog Shop last night much of their tribal polyrhythms were forsaken in favor of freewheeling house music.

As you can expect from the Grog Shop, there was a long delay before the night got underway. But the sparse crowd was forgiving, as several fans in the front danced for both the opening DJ act and GGD.

The former went on too long, as if to compensate for the late start and presumably the lack of another opener. It wasn't altogether clear what the concern was, but the youthful crowd was patient.

GGD's set provided little insight into the weird underpinings of their albums. Their earlier work from God's Money (2005) was neglected in favor of their crowd-pleasing, epic freak-out incantations.

"MindKilla" was stretched far beyond its logical center in an effort to elongate the primary grooves and streamline the rest. The result was a little underwhelming from an act that challenged us to make futile attempts at coining sub-genres for Saint Dymphna, which still stands as their greatest effort, even if only by a small margin.

This Brooklyn bunch are certainly capable of cranking out experimental albums that topple year-end lists, but their live set doesn't support this notion.

Rather than coming onstage to test their own limits and the audience's expectations like Animal Collective, for example, they settle for making your feet work a bit, then slipping off stage sooner than you'd expect. —Michael Tkach

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